What better place to debut your automotive facelift than the plastic surgery capital of the world? I’m not sure that’s why Lincoln chose the Los Angeles Auto Show to unveil their heavily refreshed 2017 MKZ, but regardless of the reason, I’m glad they did. It is a huge upgrade.
While it has been improved over the years, critics never really warmed to the current Lincoln “split wing” grill. Designed as an homage to some of the great Lincoln cars of the past like the 1940 Zephyr pictured here, the reference was lost on most buyers and thus never became the signature link to the brand’s heritage the design team had hoped.
The new front end design for Lincoln actually made its debut on the Continental concept car that was such a big hit in New York this spring, but it was never confirmed the look would be implemented across the Lincoln range until now. It has a much more harmonious look, feeling less forced and artificial than the previous design. It also feels more serious and purposeful, projecting a quiet confidence that fits well with the Lincoln brand. In addition to the grill, with its chrome mesh woven in the shape the Lincoln logo, the new front end also features available adaptive LED headlamps for better nighttime visibility.
Inside, the MKZ has been upgraded as well. Taking the time to listen to its customers and critics, Lincoln has replaced its hard to use sliders, with good old fashioned switches and dials for the HVAC and audio systems, to which we say, “hallelujah.” All the controls have been thoughtfully placed, so the functions you use most are easiest to access, and they’ve even made the USB ports more accessible. Two all-new Lincoln Black Label themes, Chalet and Vineyard, make their debut in the MKZ, and the very clubby Thoroughbred theme is now available in the luxury mid-size sedan. And the excellent Revel Audio system that first appeared in the MKX will now be available in MKZ.
Power has also been improved in MKZ with the availability of an all-new3.0-liter GTDI V6 that’s exclusive to Lincoln. When paired with all-wheel-drive, the twin-turbocharged engine produces 400 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque for what Lincoln claims is effortless performance and refinement. We’ll let you know when we actually drive the new set up.
Another first for MKZ is an available Driver’s Package which includes includes 19-inch wheels, Ebony-painted calipers, light Magnetic-painted grille, Ebony interior with carbon fiber appliqués, customizable multi-contour seats and aluminum pedal covers.The package also features retuned continuously controlled damping and suspension for enhanced driving dynamics. Dynamic. In addition, torque Vectoring enhances cornering agility without compromising ride comfort.
Lincoln is also raising the bar on driver assist technologies making it competitive with comparable cars from Lexus and Cadillac. The MKZ will offer adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality that can automatically slow the car to a complete stop if necessary, resuming higher speeds when traffic clears. An auto hold feature keeps the car at a complete stop without the driver having to press and hold the brake pedal – making stop-and-go driving or waiting at a light more relaxing. Available enhanced park assist uses ultrasonic sensors to help Lincoln MKZ steer itself into both parallel and perpendicular parking spaces. The system also provides assistance if you need help getting out of a tight spot. And finally, Lincoln has included pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection as an available option. It uses sensors to detect an imminent collision and preloads and if necessary even applies the brakes, which can help avoid some frontal crashes or lessen their severity.
While not a complete redo, the 2017 refresh for MKZ which will be available in mid 2016, is a significant improvement over the current model in technology, style and performance. And, along with the MKX and MKC crossovers, the 2017 MKZ gives Lincoln three very modern, very competitive cars in the biggest segments of the luxury market.